The #1 Millennial Career Advantage

As we enter fall recruiting season on college campuses, many students are concerned about how to position themselves for jobs in the continuingly dismal job market.

To stand out in this economy, everyone needs an angle (or three…or four…). But there is an angle that I think many Millennials overlook, perhaps because it feels so natural to them. In my opinion, the #1 advantage Millennials offer employers is that they are digital natives.

As defined on Wikipedia, a digital native is “a person who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technology, and through interacting with digital technology from an early age, has a greater understanding of its concepts.” (Check out PBS Frontline’s excellent special on this topic.) In other words, if you clicked a mouse before you read a book, you’re a digital native.

I’m not talking here about coding ability, HTML5 design or any other specific technical skill. I’m talking about the overall instinct to use technology to solve challenges and create opportunities. This is a highly valuable career advantage and one that Millennials don’t exploit enough when applying for jobs.

If you’re a young professional, here are some ideas for using your status as a digital native to your advantage:

• Promote your social media knowledge. Many Gen Ys are shocked when I recommend including social media skills on their resumes or LinkedIn profiles. The reality is that everyone doesn’t know how to use Twitter and many employers (especially small business owners) will pay someone to do this. If you consider yourself an expert designer of Facebook fan pages, a super-Tweeter (including using all of the myriad Twitter-related sites like HootSuite and TweetDeck) or you’ve been posting videos to YouTube for years, then this expertise should appear as a skill on your resume and LinkedIn profile.

• Demonstrate the ability to tap your online networks. Many companies today are obsessed with crowdsourcing, a skill that most Millennials possess innately. For instance, if you want to be a journalist, editor or TV producer, you should market your ability to quickly tap your online networks for referrals to sources, information and ideas. This is also a valuable skill for aspiring marketers, recruiters and fundraisers.

• Emphasize your self-sufficiency. While Millennials do require a lot of feedback from employers, what you don’t require is a lot of tech support. According to new research from Bomgar and GigaOm Pro, “Millennials initially seek outside sources to solve their own technology problems versus immediately turning to the IT department when something goes awry. Sixty-one percent said they don’t go to company support first, and the majority (71 percent) had searched for an answer on Google at least once.”

• Market your mobility. Everyone is talking about mobile marketing these days, so if you’re especially good at finding apps for your phone, or — better yet — designing apps, be sure to make this known. Since mobile marketing is still a relatively new field, your natural abilities can stand out when companies are looking to build their mobile strategies. But they won’t know you can do this unless you tell them.

If the above tips resonate with you, be sure to add these digital native skills to your resume and to the “Skills” section of your LinkedIn profile (check out this article from Mashable on how to do that).

What other digital native traits are valuable to employers and overlooked by Gen Ys who possess them? Please share your comments!

[  Share this   |  Subscribe to comments  |  Leave a comment  ]

6 Comments

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on November 14, 2011 at 5:55 am

    @Jason- I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your feedback.

    Comment: Posted by Jason Gortari on November 10, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Really enjoyed your post! I agree with you, Generation Y’s biggest advantage is their expertise in technonlogy. Promoting your social media knowledge is extremely import in this day and age.

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    @Louis – wow, thank you for such a nice comment! I’m glad you’ve found my blog and hope you’ll comment again soon.
    Lindsey

    Comment: Posted by Louis on October 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I’m a new reader, but man, if only college students had more blogs like this one. You somehow always seem to come up with fresh content for a subject that’s hard to get innovative about (or so I once thought). Thanks Lindsey!

    Comment: Posted by Lindsey Pollak on October 5, 2011 at 6:59 am

    @Heather- Thank you. Yes, blogging is a great tool. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Comment: Posted by Heather Huhman on September 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Great post, Lindsey! I definitely agree with the encouragement to utilize social media as part of a branding strategy. I’d like to add that blogging is also a great way to talk with industry professionals in your field while becoming a expert and source of information.

Leave a Comment

Your Name*

Your Email (will not be published)*

Your Web Site

Your Comment*


5 + five =